(reposted from .net)
Welcome to United Cardists' Guide for Beginners
So you want to be a Cardist?
Well, we are glad that you found us and we want to be a positive influence for you to get into the world of Cardistry. This guide will give you some basic background information and material to get you started.
What is Cardistry?
Cardistry is the artistic movements of a deck of cards or a portion of the deck. This definition is generally exclusive of sleight of hand, which is the manipulation of cards that disguises an effect from the spectator. With Cardistry the effect is the manipulation of the cards and intended to be viewed by the spectator. Cardistry can also be known as Flourishing or Xtreme Card Manipulation (XCM) More on that in the history of Cardistry.
The History of Cardistry
Cardistry has it's past from the world of magic particularly card magic. Card magicians have been performing flourishes for a very long time. Magicians have generally used flourishes as a way to accent their magic routines, or as a display of dexterity in between magic tricks. Jerry Cestkowski "The Flourishman" is the earliest known magician to specialize in card flourishes. He is an authoritative figure in the Cardistry/XCM/Flourishing community and his book "The encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes" (EoPCF) is known as the "Bible".
De'vo Von Schattenreich was the leading figurehead in the separation of Flourishes from Magic. De'vo became well know for his creativity and flourishing skill. Around 2001 De'vo proposed that flourishes could easily stand on their own apart from Magic routines, and his work greatly influenced the development as flourishes as a separate art form. To distance flourishes from magic, De'vo coined the phrase Xtreme Card Manipulation in 2004.
In 2006 as Flourishing and Xtreme Card Manipulation gained popularity, controversy began to arise in a sense of style and direction of the future for the community. Richard Z. coined the phrase "Cardistry" as a new term to define Flourishing and Card Manipulation as it's own art form. There was controversy and XCM and Cardistry generally became known for their different styles. Cardistry contained a style that relied more upon quick two handed cuts, whereas XCM became known for other artistic movements, especially armspreads and displays. Over the years, conflicts have been resolved, the terms Cardistry and XCM have been used interchangeably between Cardists, however the term flourishing, still implies a tie to magic. Where as it is understood that Cardistry and XCM are separate art forms.
Where should I begin?
Well, if you are brand new to Cardistry you will need to pick up a good quality deck of cards. If you happen to only have a deck of cheap novelty cards, you should be able to perform a few cuts with them, but you will soon find they are not ideal. High quality cards can be easily attained in the United States for around $3 USD. It is recommend just to start off with a deck of Bicycle Playing Cards. Grab the deck that says "Poker 808" on it. Outside of the United States, it can be harder (and more expensive) to find a high quality deck. You will want to look for a deck by the "United States Playing Card Company" or Carte Mundi. Once you get further into Cardistry you will discover different decks have different qualities, and rare decks can be highly sought after.
Now that you have your deck of cards. You will want to head over back to the Training Ground and learn how to perform some Basic Cardistry Moves. I always recommend starting with the Charlier Cut.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As I'm sure you noticed, you were not able to perform the move on your first try. If you did, stop lying. Learning to manipulate your fingers in detailed motion is something that is foreign to most people. But don't worry, it is something that everyone can pick up with practice.
What is practice?
It seems like a silly question, but in reality there are two different types of practice, and you will need to utilize both to become a proficient cardist. First their is attentive practice, this is where you first learn a move and you are really studying the motion of your fingers, comparing that to the correct motion, and looking to perfect the move. Then there is passive practice. Passive practice can only come after some attentive practice, it is performing the motions of the move without paying strict attention to the motion of your fingers. To properly learn a move, you will need to spend some time in attentive practice, where you are very detailed to get the motions correct. And then you will need to spend a lot of time in passive practice just repeating those motions over and over. The passive practice will form Finger Memory. Finger memory is where your fingers will actual learn the motions as a routine and perform the motions without much thought or effort. It is very important to learn the moves attentively correctly. If you begin a move incorrectly you will have a hard time learning to do it correctly.
A sample routine
Most of your moves will be learned by a video at this early stage. When you come across a tutorial that you want to learn you can follow these simple guidelines.
First, watch the entire video, then pick up a deck of cards go along step by step, several times until you can perform the move step by step and you remember the steps. This should only take 10-20 minutes for a simple move. Now you can put the video aside, and start attentively practicing. Perform the move over and over until you can do it completely one time through. If you are new to flourishing and its a new move to you, this may take a little bit of time. Refer back to your original source if needed. Now you can challenge yourself to perform the move twice in a row without messing up. This is still attentive practice, where you pay close attention to what you are doing. Once you can perform the move a couple times in a row, there are two common techniques to attentive practice. One is to simply attempt the move 10 times and count how many you completed it without messing up. This will give you a nice ratio, if you completed 6 out of 10 attempts, you can say you are 60%. You can up this to 100 attempts. Another method is to keep challenging yourself to complete more in a row without messing up. If you mess up you have to start over.
Once you have spent a sufficient amount of time in attentive practice you will have the finger memory to perform the move without really looking. Once you have that, you can move to passive practice. Passive practice is pretty easy, you just pick up a deck and perform the move over and over, while completely not thinking about it. You can watch Tv, you can read an article, you can watch more videos online, just don't concentrate on the cards, when you mess up, pick up any fallen cards and do it again. After a bit of passive practice, go back to some attentive practice to verify you are performing the move correctly.
How long will it take me to get good?
How good you get will entirely depend on how much effort (practice) you put into it and how much natural talent you have. Which will be entirely different for everyone. However, you can be reassured that anyone can learn enough to impress your laymen friends in a matter of a few days, if not hours.
Okay, so you have mastered the United Cardists beginner section, now what? Well you can choose to go many different routes. You can continue to learn as much as you can online for free. Many cardist in the online community have developed their own moves and have created great tutorials. From advanced material to more basic moves. However, even though many are very well done, there are also a lot very poorly done. At one point in time you will want to upgrade your arsenal with some professional material. As you become familiar with the community you will learn of many DVD's and Books, by professional Cardist available from different websites for purchase.
The Cardistry Community
The strongest presence for the cardistry community is online. Feel free to join our forum. Please just be aware of common internet courtesy and understand that we as cardist represent a very small niche of the general population. Cardist online may sometimes seem like exclusive groups, but just stick around and be respectful and you will fit right in.
This article was kindly contributed by Patrick for United Cardists
(reposted from .net)